Come Join mobiHunt 2009 !

Folks

Do you love your mobile phones, smartphones ? Do you love treasure hunt games such as an amazing race type ? Look no further !

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For the 3rd year running, our national service portal NS.SG will be hosting the mobiHunt adventure – this is a fun-filled treasure hunt that will see participants relying on mobile technology to submit answers and receive clues in a bid to cross the finish line first.

mobiHunt 2009 is open to all NS Portal Lifestyle members who can simply log in to www.ns.sg to register for the event and a chance to win attractive prizes. Anyone can sign up for a free NS Portal Lifestyle membership, and not just NSMen. The event hopes to build better public awareness over the various mobile services available on the NS Portal, and also to deliver a fun-filled event day for family and friends. Here’s what’s going to happen:

· Using location-based solutions via MeSH (Mobile eServices Hub), all 80 participating teams will be guided throughout the race which flags off on 21st November ’09.

· Teams with the most questions answered correctly, in the shortest possible time, will stand a chance to win Fastest Challenge cash prizes totalling up to S$5000. All participants are also eligible for a Lucky Draw, with up to $2500 worth of prizes up for grabs.

· All successful registrants will also stand a chance to win a Blackberry mobile phone (Storm/Curve) with a total of 8 sets up for grabs.

· Prior to the event, all NS Portal Lifestyle members will also get a chance to participate in a ‘Predict the Winning Team’ contest on the ns.sg portal. Members can log in from 19th October to 20thNovember to guess the winners.

mobiHunt 2009 is open to all NSP Lifestyle members who can log in to www.ns.sg to register. Registration closes 30th September 2009.

Source : XPRNS Portal

Come on, join in the fun, folks !

F1 Photography Tips

The Formula One is one of the world’s greatest sports events that travels around the world, with huge capital investments, costs and potential revenue. Singapore brought the world first night race in 2008 and it was an awesome experience for me, as a fan and a photography fanatic too.

Having been to Singapore F1 GP Friday Practice in 2008 and 2009, Formula One photography never fail to capture my thoughts, imagination, calculation and analysis on how to capture Formula One cars in action. During 2008, my maiden F1 experience, it took me many hours before hitting on the techniques and  tricks to capture a Formula One car in action.

For those 1st timers to a Formula One, I am sharing some of my experiences here and others as well, along with tips from 2 world famous Formula One photographers Darren Heath and Paul Henri Cahier, who were in Singapore recently to give talks on F1 photography, their photography tips were documented by Adventure Travel Asia, who was kind enough to share with his readers, do take a read at Paul Henri’s tips and Darren Heath’s tips !

My F1 photography setup is

– Canon EOS 30D

– Canon EOS 70-200mm F4 L USM

– Canon EOS 17-40mm F4 L USM

– Lots of batteries and CF cards

IMG_0856EXIF – focal length 98mm, 1/1000 at f4.0 ; ISO 1600 ; Location : Singapore Flyer

My Tips from my personal F1 photography experiences + Experts tips

(1) Locations/Angles/Perspectives – walk around the circuit to search for various spots to capture different aspects of the Formula One race in action. Bring your map and check the entire circuit. Like most photography, explore and find your angles e.g. Singapore City landscape view with Formula One cars in action, close up views of the Formula One cars driving past.

(2) Monopod – nice to have, I didn’t bring & shoot handheld all the way, when I finished the shoot, tired arms.

(3) Burst/Multiple shots – my preference is to use the 5 fps continuous drive on my Canon EOS 30D, Paul Henri uses single shot mode. With the continuous drive, out of the 5 frames captured, the middle photographs would capture the entire Formula One car in action while your first and last frames would likely be the front and end of the Formula One car.

(4) Slow Shutter versus Fast Shutter – 2 different contrasting photographs will be captured and Paul Henri’s works are an excellent example of both methods, do drop by Adventure Travel Asia post to look at it ! For me, I am fast shutter photographer !

(5) Freezing motion – Paul Henri recommends a minimum of 1/500 to freeze motion and I was shooting at around 1/640 and even 1/1000 or 1/1250 !

(6) ISO – Night F1 Race, to shoot at such high shutter speed and the lighting is not entirely perfect, with the skies, buildings and surroundings dark too, I had to switch my ISO between 800, 1250 and 1600.

(7) N0t everything is Formula One cars in action – There are lots of other actions such as performances, people, entertainment and the beautiful landscape lit up by the F1 race lights ! Singapore does have its beauty of night landscape photography !

(8) Ear plugs – Buy or borrow, YOU WILL NOT REGRET !

IMG_0734EXIF – focal Length 91mm, 1/1000 f/4.0 ; ISO 1600 ; Location : Singapore Flyer

(9) Batteries – Spare batteries a MUST

(10) CF Cards – Extra CF cards are a MUST too, besides that, I have a preference to use high write speed CF cards for Formula One photography e.g. SanDisk Extreme IV

(11) Anticipation – In all sports photography, understanding the sports and how the sports is being played is crucial for you to anticipate the actions and movements and that applies to Formula One too.

(12) How to FOCUS ? – Shooting the fence in Singapore F1 GP Night Race is very tricky for 1st timers, the key is to USE MANUAL FOCUS ! Switch to manual focus on your lense, the field of view from your lense that you intend to capture the Formula One car driving pass, focus on a point e.g. focus on the white paint lines on the road whereby the Formula One car would drive, manual focus and adjust it till sharp, after that, wait for action to start !

(13) Aperture – Open Wide (f4 for my telephoto lense) to allow the fence to be blurred out.

(14) Shoot and Shoot – There are 20 Formula One cars driving around the circuit, continue shooting, improving and fine tuning the techniques, your Formula One photography would definitely improve and you would get some great shots !

(15) Metering – Spot Metering is recommended by Paul Henri, for myself, I used Spot Metering and Centre-weighted Metering.

(16) Remember to ENJOY yourself ! – Being relaxed and enjoying the whole Formula One experience, would help you take better photos than stressing yourself to get that PERFECT shot ! Have lots of fun !!! One nice photo of your favourite Formula One car / driver in action would make your day too !! 😉

Update 1 : A Big Thanks to Robin who left a comment and a link, sharing with us on the master in F1 photography, Paul Henri’s interview with OMY.sg and a videocast of his interview too ! Priceless !

Enjoy yourself taking photographs at Singapore F1 GP 2009 Night Race !! Do check out my Singapore F1 GP 2008 photos and 2009 photos !!

Friday Practice @ Singapore F1 GP 2009 !

The rush and adrenaline of Formula One is back in Singapore again from the 26th September to 28th September, the ONLY NIGHT RACE, at the Marina Bay Circuit. Being a sports and F1 fan, I was very happy when I won lucky draw tickets to Level 1 Access Package at the Singapore Flyer from 24seven, a Singapore social media company. THANK YOU very much to 24seven and Singapore Flyer for this wonderful opportunity !

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Met up with my friend Han Long at Peninsula Plaza, before walking up to Clarke Quay for the river taxi to Singapore Flyer. It was my FIRST experience on a river taxi & on a Singapore River Cruise !!! I was a tourist for once !!! 😛 …. The experience was great and the evening and early evening scenery of the Singapore CBD and Raffles Place area was awesome, the magnificent view of Singapore’s success story is something we should be proud of !

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Arriving at the jetty, whereby Gate 9 of the Marina Bay Circuit was located, after clearing security and scanning of our entry pass, we walked over & started exploring, saw the Porsche GT3 Coupe waiting for night driving action and we hanged around watching the drivers belted up and driving off !

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Proceeding to the Singapore Flyer, even though our pass was restricted to the Singapore Flyer zone, there were action zones to keep us entertained, namely – Party Zone, Chill-Out Zone, Action Zone, Tribal Zone and Sky Zone, do check out the Singapore Flyer Promotion for more details on the Entertainment Zone. The Singapore Flyer – Coolest Views Party Packages for the Singapore F1 GP details are available HERE, do check them out !

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Enjoying ourselves, I was happily taking many photos of the Formula One cars in Practice Action from 2130hrs to 2300hrs, the noise was very loud and I forgot to buy my ear-plugs again ! However, there was a kind lady who gave me her extra ear plugs and I am very grateful and thankful !! Madam, thank you very much for your kindness !!

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It took me a bit of time to “get the hang of it”, adjusting my ISO settings, shutter, photo composition, panning and 5 frames action shooting, the F1 cars driving past the Singapore Flyer accelerate very fast before slowing down for a left 90 degrees bend into the Main Grandstand, however after a bit of time, fine tuning techniques and focusing points, I managed to get quite a number of photographs, some decent shots 😛

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The atmosphere was great at the Singapore Flyer and I wished for more time there because I arrived there a bit late, around 730pm, nevertheless, it was a very fun  and exciting Singapore F1 GP 2009 Night Race Experience !! The Singapore Flyer  – Coolest Views Hottest Race Package is very nice – Go For It !! Do check out my other Friday Practice Photos !! After the 2nd Friday Practice was over, it was a long queue for the River Taxi back to Clarke Quay and Home !

Mobile Leisure Lifestyle with SONY VAIO W

The world of mobile networking had improved significantly over the years, gone were years ago whereby small laptops were expensive and relatively heavy too. Information technology and innovation had witnessed the birth of a new series of small laptops known as notebooks or netbooks.

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Today, as I promised to my readers in my earlier post, presenting to everybody, the SONY VAIO W, a photojournalistic journey into a mobile leisure lifestyle with SONY VAIO W. The technical aspects and first review of the SONY VAIO W had been documented in my personal blog and do drop by to check out my Review Part One !

Nowadays, people are always on the move, with their notebooks or netbooks, armed with their high tech mobile phones or smartphones, MP3 players or portable game consoles. Being a person that is always on the move, the SONY VAIO W fits in nicely into my active lifestyle, at 1.19kg, it’s light, handy and slots nicely into various bags !

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The SONY VAIO W slots in nicely into my leather bag, when I do not need to carry too many things out and this leather bag allows me to carry the SONY VAIO W along with my other high tech accessories and personal belongings. Overall, it doesn’t feel heavy too !

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Due to my various photography equipment and demands of the photography shoot (leisure or projects), it would usually be packed with my following photography equipment

– Canon 30D

– EF 17-40mm F4 L USM

– EF 70-200mm F4 L USM

– Sigma DG 500 Super

– Spare batteries, CF Cards, cables and cleaning cloth

Besides that, I would be bringing water along for my photography shoot, with all those equipment packed inside my backpack. With all the equipment, it’s quite heavy and with a 12inch or 14inch laptop, it makes the backpack even heavier. With the SONY VAIO W, it not only slots in nicely into my backpack, it also serves as a good traveling notebook to store photos taken, surf the internet while resting or when traveling from places to places, locally or holidays overseas.

Now ….. would you like to own a SONY VAIO W ? 😉

Photos From Super Import Nights 2009 !!!

In a country that many of its people want to own a car and unique car regulations in the world, coupled with the incoming Singapore F1 GP, we are kind of car fanatics and there are definitely a group of people out there who love the sports car and auto styling area of cars.

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Super Import Nights 2009, in its 3rd year, was back again from the 18th September to 21st September 2009 at the Singapore Expo, and being a sports car fanatic, I went on the last day to enjoy myself watching the drift session, look at the different sports cars on display and of course, the beautiful and stunning race queens from Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and USA !

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The drifting actions and performances were pretty good, and it was great to watch them perform since I am a drift fan since watching Initial D. Inside the Expo Hall, there were different companies there, ranging from performance tuning, styling, accessories, sports cars sales etc etc …. There were some interesting designs and it was an eye opener !

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As for the main hot octane action, the crowd pullers were definitely the race queens and I believed there could be a group of photographers who had been regularly going there for the past 3-4 days from gates open to gates closing !! Having went to the previous 2 Super Import Nights, I had a very good idea on how their actions, patterns, movements would be like !! It was fun watching and observing other photographers 🙂

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The race queens were hot and definitely entertained the guys out there, there were more action such as pole dancing and bikini babe contest that I wasn’t able to capture as I wasn’t around when they were performing. There could be some interesting debates and discussions on which country’s race queens were better, prettier etc etc …. For me, all of them were really great and we all must applaud them for being professional, lovely, pretty and lighting up the event !

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For more photos of Super Import Nights 2009, do drop by my Flickr and enjoy the photos ! Hope you folks enjoy Super Import Nights 2009 !! Let’s all look forward to the Singapore F1 GP !!

FIRST Visit to Istana Open House !

The Istana Grounds in Singapore is a very special area of rich history and importance dating back many many years ago, known as the Government House and today the Istana is the official residence of the President of the Republic of Singapore, do check out their official website ! Therefore, it is not a tourist destination, however, only on special occasions in a year, the Istana Grounds would be opened up to the public for visiting !

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Today is Hari Raya Puasa, one of the public holidays in Singapore and the Istana Grounds opens to the public for visit and attracted great crowds of young and old, locals to tourists, keen to view and enjoy the beautiful greenery and history of Singapore and Istana. I went with my friend Andrew, queued up, cleared the routine security checks and in we went ! There were many people and quite a number of tourists who took the very rare opportunity to visit and learn more about the history.

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Inside the Istana Grounds, it was really beautiful with the greenery, on the hills, different trees that were of great vintage and history, beautiful flowers and nice grass fields that were well taken care of. Many activities were there during the Open House, parrots from Bird Park were there to grace the event too and performances by schools and organisations. We went for a tour inside the Istana Grounds buildings and witnessed many great treasures that were gifts for Singapore by many different countries around the world, displayed inside the building, ranging from crystals to paintings, the gifts showed the wonderful friendships and relationships Singapore built over the years with many different countries around the world.

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Do check out my other photos of the Istana Open House on my flickr and do visit the Istana during the Open House if the opportunities arise !

What is this Pink Gadget ?

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Presenting to you ….. A latest pinky high tech toy that I would be writing, reviewing, sharing and blogging …..

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Do you what model/series this Pinky Gadget is ? Stay tuned over the next few days as I present to you how your current mobile working and connectivity lifestyle would be different.

My Canon 30D is in “Hospital”

On 12th September 2009, while I was enjoying myself at Ben & Jerry Chunk Fest at the Marina Barrage, my workhorse DSLR, the Canon 30D broke down with an Error 99 code. For 1st timers, Error 99 is an error that is not usually able to be identified from the outside and it is not obvious. I suspected that my shutter has reached its lifespan and she decided to “Report Sick”.

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Sent to Canon Service Centre at HarbourFront for repairs, estimated repair bill to be SGD $250 for shutter replacement and labour charges, quite a standard rate based on my experiences talking to fellow photographers. This is my Canon 30D THIRD visit to Canon Service Centre, 2 times for Error 99 and 1 time for trigger button replacement. I was thinking …… Should I consider an upgrade to the Canon Professional Series, the Canon EOS 1DMk 2 or 1DMk 3 ?

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Before going further, there are other Canon Professional Series such as the Canon EOS 5D Mk1 and Mk2, EOS 7D (Coming soon), EOS 1Ds Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3. All of them have their merits and strong unique selling points, my reasons for choosing the 1DMk 2 or 1DMk 3 are for its high speed action especially useful in sports and fast paced events photography, where I am quite keen in because of my strong interest in Sports and Events.

Should I upgrade to Canon EOS 1D Mk 2 or Mk 3 ? (Photos : DPReview.com)

Ben & Jerry Chunk Fest 2009 @ Marina Barrage

IMG_4563Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl – Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with a Thick Peanut Butter Swirl – Love chocolate? Love peanut butter? Then this must be the perfect concoction for you. Smooth, velvety milk chocolate ice-cream with thick, gooey swirls of peanut butter – nothing can be better than that!”

Mention the word Ben & Jerry ice cream and you would send many people from young to old, craving and eating them with great enthusiasm and delight. I am a fan of their ice cream and when Ben & Jerry’s in Singapore announced Chunk Fest 2009 to be held at the Marina Barrage, it attracted quite a lot of their fans coming to down for the “Exclusive” Ben & Jerry ice cream, that are not available in Singapore, imported from the U.S.A.

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The event was held at the roof terrace of the Marina Barrage and it was a great ground for picnics, gatherings, kite flying, enjoying Ben & Jerry ice cream and a live music carnival with 5 other local bands coming together and performing at Chunk Fest 2009. Weather was good, it was hot and hazy, you could feel, sense and see the haze covering the Marina Bay and its surroundings. Nevertheless, it didn’t deter the fun from going on.

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Walked around, enjoyed the atmosphere and carnival, selected 1 of the 12 Ben & Jerry ice cream, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl …… What can I say ….. It’s really delicious and lovely !! There were more activities ongoing during the entire event, didn’t get to catch all of them as I went around in the late afternoon, after 4pm.

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I was having fun, relaxing and enjoying myself before something happened to Canon EOS 30D, suffered with an Error 99 code, all possible attempts were used to revive my workhorse Canon EOS 30D and it was to no avail, I am going to send it in to Canon Singapore Service Centre (AGAIN) for my 2nd Error 99 issue on the coming Monday morning. With that, my adventure at Ben & Jerry Chunk Fest 2009 was brought to an abrupt end.

New Nature Park in Singapore Opens !

I was surfing and reading my fellow local blogger/friend, Seen This Scene That and found out from his post that Dairy Farm Nature Park is officially opened !! It was declared opened by Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development, with news reported on AsiaOne and National Parks Board.

The Dairy Farm Nature Park brought back my memories when I was a Boy Scout in Dragon Scout Group and hiking was a very fun activity for us and we hiked from the summit of Bukit Timah Hill downwards to Dairy Farm and had our outdoor fun and activities there. Still remembered the ancient house used for filming (martial arts dramas) at the Dairy Farm Quarry (if my memories recalled correctly). Check out the National Parks Board webpage on Dairy Farm Nature Park and check out the map by National Parks Board below –

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I haven’t been there yet, looking around the photos taken by other fellow bloggers, it looks great and fun, well connected to the park connectors and cycling trails. Feeling excited and looking forward to plan another photography walkabout to take photos of Dairy Farm Nature Park.